Try quarantine birding

By Nicole Clausing

Cedar Waxwing/Nicole Clausing

Birding in place is a thing, and if right now you miss your feathered friends as much as your real ones, there are options…For me, the thrill is usually in the spotting. Positively IDing a rare bird gives me a charge that’s probably something like the satisfaction a hunter feels tracking down a wild creature (but with a happier ending), and something like a celebrity sighting…

You may think of birding as something done in deep woods, or in exotic jungle locations, but it isn’t necessarily so. You can go sit in your backyard, or just look out the window for a bit, and count how many species you can see. I recently did just that. I live on an ordinary residential street in a suburb of San Francisco. In an hour sitting in my backyard, I counted 9 different species, and if I were better at IDing bird songs, I think I could have counted a few more. You may not think of your neighborhood as an exotic locale, or that your view is particularly inspiring, but birds have different standards than we do, and may surprise you.

RTFA for more suggestions. The week before the Spring snowstorm we suffered through on Monday, I spotted our first vultures returning from winter in Mexico. I love the way they soar…and we pretty much always have an abundance of wind on hand for them to play with.

On my daily walks – solo, unless accompanied by my wife and our dog – I always watch for raptors…my favorites.